State to Fund 2 Itasca Co. Highway Projects

Posted at: 11/14/2013 3:35 PM | Updated at: 11/14/2013 9:39 PM

The state will provide up to $30 million for two highway projects in Itasca County, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

The projects on U.S. Highway 169 in the Taconite area and U.S. Highway 2 between Deer River and Cass Lake will be funded under the "Corridors of Commerce" program.  Both projects are intended to improve the movement of freight.

The Highway 2 project will add three passing lanes on a 38-mile stretch of road at a cost of $8 to $10 million and is set for 2014. The DOT said the project would enhance highway safety by reducing pressure for traffic to make high-risk passes.

The Highway 169 project will make the highway four lanes from County Road 15 to one mile east of County Road 7.  The project will cost between $14 and $20 million and is set for 2016.  The highway is a key route for iron ore trucks.

"These projects will reduce travel times and improve safety for Minnesota citizens, and help our businesses transport their products more efficiently," said Governor Dayton in a press release. "The number of projects from all over our state, which sought financing from this program, underscores the acute need for more transportation funding."

The program will fund a total of $300 million in projects statewide.  The longest project will be the addition of passing lanes on Highway 23 between Willmar and I-90, while the most expensive will be Highway 610 in the Twin Cities metro area.

Click here to see the DOT's summary of the projects and a map.

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